Published on International Journal of Economics & Business
Publication Date: March 20, 2019
Isaac Theophilus Ampah
Takoradi Technical University, Faculty of Business Studies
Department of Marketing And Strategy
Takoradi, Ghana, West Africa
-To find the extent of marketing mix adoption among political parties
-To investigate the factors which prevent successful implementation of marketing mix by political parties.
-To identify whether marketing mix adoption really leads to voters’ satisfaction
-To highlight any other findings which are relevant and can contribute towards effective marketing mix adoption by political parties in Ghana.
265 respondents from four main political parties, civil society groups and eligible Ghanaian voters were purposively selected. Structured self-completed questionnaires, journal, internet, books and Electoral Commission Ghana manuals were used to collect data. Data was analysed using frequencies, mean, standard deviation and stack box.
35 New Patriotic Party (NPP), 46 National Democratic Party (NDC), 32 Convention Peoples Party (CPP), 17 Peoples National Congress (PNC) and 5 Other parties officials (Political Actors) and members as well as 11 election officials, 10 election monitoring officials, 21 political analysts experts and 77 eligible Ghanaian voters (Non-Political Actors) were sampled from 15 million eligible Ghanaian voters (18 years and above and of sound mind). Source-Electoral Commission of Ghana. Summary of views of respondents (Political Actors) about marketing mix as a satisfaction tool on Likert scales ( 1=strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3= neutral, 4= agree and 5 strongly agree) with mean score ranging from 3.63 to 4.27 out of a total of 5. From Non-Political Actors perspective effectiveness of marketing mix adoption among political parties is low with mean scores ranging from 2.15-2.68 of a total of 5.
The study concluded that marketing mix adoption among political parties in Ghana is medium and also its usage as a satisfaction tool is effective for Political Actors and ineffective for Non-Political Actors. Furthermore, it was discovered that the 7ps (product, price, promotion, place, people, process and physical evidence.) on their own are not enough to satisfy voters’ needs/wants.
Keywords: Marketing mix, Voter satisfaction and Political parties.
For voters’ satisfaction to be realised marketing mix application is paramount in modern political dispensation. Once voters’ needs/wants keep changing so must politicians all over the world embrace marketing mix application seriously than ever before. According Gbadeyan (2011) political parties seek voters’ support in exchange for good governance. Marketing mix is a combination of four factors which managers may leverage to satisfy customers’ needs/wants (McCarthy,1964). The marketing mix is also known as 4ps summarily ie product, price, promotion and place. Boom and Bitner (1981) extended the 4ps to 7ps to include people, process and physical evidence to cover services provision.
Despite marketing mix global recognition and acceptance as a satisfaction tool, its effectiveness in political setting is under research. This demands that political parties should do their possible best to satisfy different stakeholders particularly voters’ needs/wants. Lee-Marshment (2008) added if a political party implements the marketing philosophy, it would seek to meets voters’ needs/wants, thus producing voter satisfaction and in doing so gain electoral support to meet its own goals. To realize this objective, marketing mix application within political administration should be given the needed attention it deserves so as to satisfy various varying needs/wants of stakeholders.
Full implementation of the 7ps including customer orientation and employment of qualified marketing personnel would go a long way to enhance the effectiveness of marketing practice at political parties’ setting. Research has revealed that even though marketing mix application in politics is at its infant stage yet it has the ability to investigate and explain the behaviour of leading political actors and parties to comprehend the underpinning means needed to establish explanatory models of political parties as well as voters’ behaviour (Scammell, 1999). Nevertheless, this feat can be realised if political parties undertake a reasonable time frame of effective marketing. On many instances application of marketing mix to political issues is seen as over simplification and unnecessary (Butler and Collins, 1994).
This common feature of marketing practice of political parties can hardly assist voters’ needs/wants satisfaction. Thus to prepare political parties to fully maximise voters’ needs/wants is essential to fill the vacuum created by doubt about marketing mix applicability in political setting to have the same effect like the one practiced in commercial marketing. As political parties enhance marketing practice they should also appreciate not only how to give excellent political product offering to voters but also they should also establish lasting win-win relationship with all political stakeholders. Application of political marketing mix should involve all 7ps but not communication (Wring, 2002b) and celebrity endorsement strategies (Henneberg,2004) as is being done by some political parties. If political parties take marketing mix application seriously and systematically enrol marketing infrastructure and engage the services of qualified marketing personnel then voters’ satisfaction which is medium among them can be improved to deepened voters’ participation in democratic process in most developing countries for better governance.
Considerable attention has been paid to political parties and voters’ satisfaction in relation to democratic governance systems. However, despite the essential role voters’ satisfaction plays in good governance very little attention has been given to this subject matter within the published research literature especially in developing democracies. The lack of adequate attention to effective marketing mix application in terms of effective voter satisfaction at political setting level creates a gap in academic literature. Thus, study aimed at capturing the essential knowledge and experiences of both political and non-political actors to make an empirical analysis of the effectiveness of marketing mix application at political parties setting.
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Marketing in General
According to Scammell ( 1999) among the various definitions of marketing, the marketing mix concept (customer-oriented approach) and the notion of exchange is the centre of them. Marketing is about finding and meeting social needs while being profitable at the same time (Kotler and Keller, 2014). Also, American Marketing Association (2014) defined marketing as the activity, set of institutions and processes for establishing, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers and larger societal needs in both short and long terms. Kotler and Keller (2014) said marketing is an art and science of selecting segment, getting, keeping and growing customers through creation, delivery and communication of superior customers’ value.
2.2 Marketing Practices in politics
Philip Kotler and Sidney Levy challenged marketing’s obsession with commercial activity (Newman, 1999a). Kotler and Zaltman (1971) argued marketing practice benefit non-profitable organization. This started the need to study and develop understandable meaning of marketing in non-commercial sectors ( Newman, 1999a; Wring 2002b) . With increasing desire in new academic literature also commenced the area of politics in marketing (Savigny, 2003). Even though marketing practices in politics is at an early phase there is a debate going on regarding the specific role marketing can play in political activities (Bains and Egan, 2001). Developing literature on marketing practices in politics tends to be specific to particular countries (Butler and Collins, 1996). Marketing practices in politics is not accepted universally by all practitioners and academics alike. There a section of political scientists who agree that marketing in political science landscape gives it some level of uniqueness. In another breadth there other political scientists who argued that marketing in political activities is mere nice presentation and over-indulging exercise ( O’Shaughnessy, 2001).
2.3 Marketing mix Variables of Marketing Practices in Politics
According to Niffenegger (1989) politicians should integrate the 7ps to achieve the desired impact on their activities for better customer satisfaction. Scammell (1999) even advocate the stretching of the 7ps to make much sense in marketing practice in politics. The following are the mix variables in political context;
a) Product-This refers to anything whether tangible or intangible which is of value to voters and other political stakeholders. This includes candidate image, past achievement, competence, backup resources, promises, personal features of a candidate, political ideology and governance ( Niffenegger, 1989).
b) Price-This deals with management of attitudinal and behavioural impediments to voters. This includes economic cost, psychological cost, opportunity cost and voting influence cost (Niffenegger, 1989).
c) Promotion-Here dissemination of information to both internal and external stakeholders of political party. Promotional mix variables include advertising, publicity, leaflet distribution, internet ads, social media, posters and so on (Niffenegger, 1989).
d) Place-This refers to the manner in which political products are made available to voters and other stakeholders. This includes campaign delivery and political product delivery ( Niffenegger, 1989.
e) People- Under this variable, party membership, party leadership style, communicators, strategist and party financiers involvement are dealt with (Ormond, 2005).
f) Process-This deals with a political party’s efforts in focussing on building mutually satisfying long-term relationship with key stakeholders in the political sphere (Ormond, 2005).
g) Physical evidence-This refers to the attractiveness and welcoming nature of political party’s structures to voters and other stakeholders (Ormond, 2005).
2.4 Voters’ Satisfaction
Kotler (2014) said satisfaction is the feeling of happiness because one has something or has achieved something of value. Kolter and Armstrong (2014) also added that satisfaction is state of happiness or disappointment that comes from the comparison of a perceived performance of a product relative to its expectations. They continue by saying that satisfaction is action which is meeting a genuine, desire, demand and expectation. It is undeniable fact that voters compare their expectations concerning specific political promise with actual achievement of sitting government to decide whether to renew their mandate at the next polls. Shama (1976) also argued that marketing in politics is about is a situation whereby politicians present their ideas to voters to order to meet their both actual and potential needs so that they can garner support for the policies, programs and achievements. Henneberg (2002) also suggested that marketing in politics should approach from long-term relational perspective individual voters’ needs are met by political actors at a profitable. According to Marshment (2006) if a political institution embrace marketing mix, it will strive to satisfy voters’ needs/wants thus offering voter satisfaction and in by so doing win electoral support for its manifesto. Newman (1999a) further stressed that there should be the need for marketers to first identify voters needs before they go around electoral areas to make political promises.